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Auth0 Integrates Identity Into Authentication – Interview

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fingerprintAuth0, a platform for modern identity authentication, recently announced its Series A funding to help augment the firm’s current team of approximately 50 people who support its growing subscriber base. The company has seen revenue growth of 20-30% month-over-month for the past year.

The company strives to make it easy for developers to implement even the most complex authentication and authorization solutions for its web, mobile and internal applications, APIs, and IoT devices.

Among Auth0’s clients are JetPrivilege, HarperCollins Publishing, Schneider Electric, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection and Time Warner’s TMZ. For Auth0 CEO Jon Gelsey, identity is the new firewall.

“In a world where virtually every device and application either already does or aspires to connect to the Internet and to other devices and applications, the old paradigm of a firewall providing data protection at the perimeter no longer works,” Gelsey told Hacked.

“There is no perimeter because devices are connected everywhere. Instead, the best practice today is for every application, API and IoT device to assume it’s in a hostile environment and to handle its own security.” For Auth0, security starts with strong identity.

“If you are absolutely certain of the identity of a person or machine accessing your data or imputing commands, such as ‘turn the AC on in the house at 4pm’ or ‘show me my infant’s sleeping patterns’, by definition you’ve stopped hackers,” Gelsey said.

“‘Absolute certainty’ is a difficult bar to reach, though, so the goal is to be as certain as possible regarding identity,” he added.

To achieve this, one must always employ the best practices for authenticating and authorizing users with multiple factors of authentication, as well as being up to date on the latest vulnerabilities.

“That means employing best practices for authenticating and authorizing users, using multiple factors of authentication, and being always up to date on the latest vulnerabilities,” he added.

With Auth0, developers don’t need deep vertical experience across authorization, authentication, identity management and security applications. They can quickly secure applications and APIs by adding just a few lines of code, provided by Auth0, regardless of the complexity of the identity environment.

“We make it easy for developers building IoT connected applications to implement strong identity security as an important first step to ensuring user protection and ultimately a great user experience for their product,” Gelsey said. Coverage of the Internet of Things often highlights the negative possibilities for the technology. Gelsey is excited about the positives.

“The coolest part of IoT is that I can virtualize expensive smarts – say, the CPU capacity to run sophisticated machine learning code on a multi-petabyte database – from the IoT device into the cloud, where it can be a shared resource and hence much cheaper,” Gelsey told Hacked. “While an unconnected device – say a thermostat – is fairly dumb when unconnected, it can be very smart when connected and without the cost going up materially.” This means we can all have very smart devices that make our lives easier.

Also read: Risky Business: the Internet of Things (IoT)

“Because the IoT devices can communicate, they can figure out more about their environment and do smarter and more convenient things because they have better data – data that would have been too expensive to collect before,” Gelsey reasoned. “For example, my car can automatically brake because it is told by a car ten cars ahead of me that it had to brake. This saves me from slamming on the brakes at the last second, therefore making driving safer.” Gelsey sees the IoT everywhere he looks, including in entertainment new and old.

“The concept of devices and apps connecting with one another is certainly not new – the Jetsons are maybe an obvious, earlier example of this,” Gelsey recalls. “More recently we can see instances in almost every TV show and movie that’s made today. Fox’s Fringe showcased an alternate universe with technology slightly more advanced than our own, and crime shows like CBS’s CSI regularly feature technology that isn’t yet available to most real law enforcement agencies.” Tiny voice and touch-activated wearable smartphones and helicopters that run solely on autopilot are not where IoT ends for Gelsey.

“I like the various bots in Neal Stephenson’s Seveneves – each one fairly stupid on its own, but when all work together they become enormously valuable contributors to saving the human race,” he told Hacked. Gelsey believes that IoT will particularly change the lives of developers.

“The biggest change will be thinking about how to take advantage of all this really cool, really cheap sensor data and how humans can interact with devices without traditional UX’s like keyboards, screens, and so on,” he predicted. “As well as, of course, spurring new product and service ideas that billion-dollar new companies will be built upon.” In Gelsey’s opinion, developers will have to be careful when navigating new frontiers.

“To borrow words from the recent movie, Jurassic World, ‘The park needs a new attraction every few years to reinvigorate the public’s interest, kind of like the space program. Corporate felt genetic modification would up the ‘wow’ factor,’” Gelsey paraphrased.

auth0-imrpoved-authentication“If you’re not familiar with the premise of the movie, they’re talking about having ‘built’ a genetically modified dinosaur – one who was bigger, scarier and more dangerous than any dinosaur that ever existed in nature – in order to satisfy the ever-growing demands of the park audience. The concept – not as extreme, of course – can be applied to the demand for IoT connectivity today.” That developers are under pressure to build new and exciting things and get them to market quickly leads many to cut corners on security.

“With the prevalence of recent high-profile hacks, and the even more recent Jeep hacking experiment, it’s clear that developers are sometimes taking shortcuts in security to ship faster,” Gelsey observed. “The challenge here will be to ship fast without sacrificing security.” And that’s where Auth0 comes in

“By simplifying identity within an enterprise – something Auth0 can help developers do in days or weeks instead of months – developers can more easily identify and secure those areas that would have been most vulnerable,” he said. For Gelsey, it’s like Adam Smith’s “comparative advantage” in Wealth of Nations.

“Why try to grow wine grapes in Ecuador when you can grow pineapples more easily, and then trade those pineapples?” he said. “You get paid more for your core competencies, so why spend time and lose money doing something that’s not a core competency?” Auth0 strives to keep clients out of the authentication business, so their clients can focus on their business’ true value.

“Authentication is complex and, if done incorrectly, has big security costs, so unless your business is to be an authentication and authorization provider, why would it ever be worth your time to do it yourself?” Authentication has changed in the past ten years.

“Authentication has grown much more complex because there are many more sources of identity now than there were ten years ago,” Gelsey told Hacked. “And the hacking community has become much more sophisticated, especially with the advent of state-sponsored cyberattacks.” There are many advantages for nation-states to enter the hacking game.

“Many countries have recognized that cyber warfare is a less expensive and less risky way to accomplish national aims that previously were only achievable through military force,” Gelsey said.

“And, of course, criminal hacking gangs have seen what nation-states can accomplish and are actively working to emulate them. Strong identity security is the first step in defending against sophisticated attacks.” Auth0 recently launched Auth0 Europe. The company chose this direction for a simple reason: to meet demand.

“The EU has different privacy and data protection regulations than the US, and countries like Germany have further augmented EU rules,” Gelsey told Hacked. “While we have always been fully compliant with the regulations of every country we do business in, it provided additional peace-of-mind for European customers to know their version of Auth0 was inside EU and even German borders.” For the modern entrepreneur, Gelsey stressed, authentication is critical.

“If people can’t login to your web or mobile app, API or IoT device, they can’t do anything else,” he said. “And on the enterprise side, if employees can’t access the systems and data they need to do their jobs, you don’t have a business.” For Gelsey, authentication and authorization are the very first building blocks you need to start a business.

“Aside from the basic ability to login, you’ll also want to know who’s accessing your product or stored data,” the CEO said. “Without being able to measure and understand customer behavior you can’t hope to build and maintain a product that will survive to meet customer demands.”

Once a business implements authentication, the work is just beginning. That company will need to maintain proper authentication and authorization amid ever-changing technology and security protocols, a challenging and time consuming, endeavor. Amid the change, What trends should developers keep their eyes on?

“The megatrend, of course, is that apps and APIs are assembled, not written,” Gelsey said. “That’s a bit of hyperbole because there is a lot of skilled software engineering being done every day, but the advent of cloud infrastructure services means those developers can ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ and build more amazing things incredibly quickly.” Gelsey believes in the future strong identity security becomes simpler.

“In the same way that no one today thinks about networking for their app – because it’s a given that an IP connection is ‘just there’ – we see a not-so-distant future where authentication is ‘just there.’ Developers will no longer have to worry about identity and security for their applications, API’s, and IoT devices.”

Images from Shutterstock and author.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 1 rated postsJustin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused CryptographicAsset.com. Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.




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Argo Mining as a Means of Diversification

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Buying Bitcoin (or any cryptocurrency) is something we talk about a lot, but earning crypto is just as interesting. There are many ways to earn crypto that allow for arbitrage-like opportunities, but the focus of this piece is on mining companies.

More specifically, Argo Mining, which is the first cryptocurrency mining company to IPO. That might not sound like a big deal, but it gives Argo a critical competitive advantage over other companies.

The Mining Industry

One thing is clear right now, the mining industry is still very opaque. Users are constantly worried about being scammed, which is very similar to how it was when trading exchanges were popping up left and right. There are numerous options out there for companies that will help you mine cryptocurrency, but it isn’t always clear what the best choice is.

You can go one of two routes: have a mining application operate on your computer, or pay for a rented service. Honeyminer is an example of a native application that works well and pays out cryptocurrency, and Argo is an example of a “shared service”. Argo operates much like Amazon Web Services does. You pay to rent computational capabilities, but your goals end up being slightly different. The business models are sound, but very different.

Where Argo’s Advantage Comes From

Argo is the first mining company to IPO, which adds a level of trust that no other company can currently command. There are so many potential risks for users that they tend to shy away from these companies. They are worried about their payment information being ripped off, withdrawal of the coins, and the costs being greater than the revenues.

By raising $32 million in their June 11th IPO, Argo has alleviated many of these worries, and added a degree of trust to their brand. They started off mostly mining altcoins such as Bitcoin Gold, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Zcash, but have recently announced Bitcoin mining packages as well.

The overall goal of Argo, as stated by their CEO, Jonathan Bixbay, is to democratize mining so everyone can participate. Right now, most of the mining is done by a select few of the elites, and Argo is enabling the wealth to be spread here.

Can Argo Actually Make You Money?

The big question to answer about Argo is whether you can actually make money doing this. The costs per month could potentially be higher than the value of the crypto you mine. Sure, you don’t have to pay trading fees on them, but it is important to calculate exactly how much you are coming out ahead.

It depends on the package, but you could potentially end up paying more for the fees than you earn. The trick is to remember that the crypto market isn’t like other markets – it isn’t perfectly efficient – and there are always arbitrage opportunities if you look hard enough.

An Alternate Route to Being Long Crypto

With much of crypto mining currently being done by elites because of the massive investment involved, it is clear that Argo has tapped a massive market. The company had a waitlist of 50,000 in September, and with the funds from the IPO, they can finally finance the expansion of their operations in a way that will speed up the number of people they can bring online.

If you believe Bitcoin (or cryptocurrencies in general) is coming out of a rut soon, then this is a good way to diversify into the market. Do your own tests and make sure that you are coming out ahead after the fees, but it should be a simple way to make some extra money in what is currently an inefficient market.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.1 stars on average, based on 40 rated posts




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Crypto Market Development: Goldman Sachs-Backed Circle Acquires Crowdfunding Platform

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  • Goldman Sachs-backed Circle has announced it has acquired SeedInvest. The fee has not been disclosed.
  • SeedInvest are a crowdfunding platform. Circle are planning to expand SeedInvest’s offerings to support cryptocurrencies.

The Goldman Sachs funded crypto start up Circle, are really stepping up their dominance within the market. Over the past two days, there has been a couple positive developments from their camp. Firstly, the firm has acquired crowdfunding platform SeedInvest. Elsewhere, they have added a new feature for their app, known as Collections.

Circle Acquires SeedInvest  

Circle Internet Financial is acquiring SeedInvest. Should all be approved by regulators, the company are targeting the strategy of delivering a token marketplace. This will enable businesses as well as individuals to raise capital and interact with investors using open crypto rails and infrastructure. Circle will want to make it easier for startups to issue digital coins. The scope also to facilitate customers to trade a larger variety of digital tokens. A full statement can be observed by their latest blog.

Collections

Another development from Circle, coming in the form of adding a new feature, is “Collections”. This will allow its users to invest in a particular theme. The following themes offered are “Platforms, Payments, and Privacy.” Users will be able to invest in an entire theme, with a single click. Providing a simplified way for investors portfolio be focused on multiple coins. Full coverage was posted within a blog from the company.

Market Review

These developments continue to cement the huge improvements being observed across the market. The sky appears to be the limit, as the digital currency sector does not stop having its infrastructure solidified. Updates such as the announcements from Circle, demonstrate capabilities are not limited. See previous acknowledgement points of the sector taking big legitimizing steps, in a prior Litecoin article, under the section Big Infrastructure Improvement In The Crypto Market’.

The one thing that will likely continue to slowdown the market is regulation. This will have to be the case for the foreseeable future. As revolutionizing as the industry is, regulators must remain cautious for the sake of all parties involved. Their concerns remain about the safety of investors that want to participate in the marketplace as well as ensuring that anti-money laundering protocols are maintained. In the long run, it is in the best interest of all those involved. Besides all of this, there is still remains some way to go for complete a complete solid system, in comparison to the traditional financial system.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.5 stars on average, based on 29 rated postsKen has over 8 years exposure to the financial markets. During a large part of his career, he worked as an analyst, covering a variety of asset classes; forex, fixed income, commodities, equities and cryptocurrencies. Ken has gone on to become a regular contributor across several large news and analysis outlets.




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Altcoins

Stellar Acquires Blockchain Startup Chain to Form Interstellar

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The commercial arm of the Stellar Development Corporation has acquired a promising blockchain startup by the name of Chain, paving the way for possibly higher enterprise adoption of distributed ledger technology. The deal adds to Stellar’s credibility as one of the world’s leading blockchain companies.

Chain Acquired

Chain, a San Francisco-based startup pursuing enterprise grade adoption of blockchain technology in finance, has sold to Lightyear in an undisclosed cash agreement. Lightyear, the subsidiary of the Stellar Development Corporation, will be re-named Interstellar, according to official reports. Jed McCaleb, Stellar’s founder, will be the chief technology officer of the newly formed company, which he said should help companies build on the Stellar network. He adds:

“Chain’s team has led the market for enterprise adoption of blockchain technology, which is a critical component of building a future where money and digital assets move over open protocols.”

Interstellar’s new CEO Adam Ludwin explained how the newly merged company will work together:

“Chain has worked from inside the enterprise while Stellar has focused on the network between organizations. As a single team we will have a complete view and set of capabilities to make value-over-IP a reality.”

Chain is said to be a leader in the world of fin-tech, having built enterprise-grade blockchain solutions for Visa, Citigroup and Nasdaq, among others. With the merger, Interstellar will have access to Sequence, Chain’s powerful cloud solution that enables companies to monitor assets moving between private ledgers and the Stellar network.

Previously, Chain had raised more than $43 million across multiple deals. Financiers included Capital One, Citigroup, Pantera Capital and Blockchain Capital.

XLM Price Update

Although the merger between Chain and Lightyear has not had a demonstrably positive effect on XLM’s price, the cryptocurrency continues to outperform leading assets such as Ethereum and bitcoin cash. The XLM price was down 4.4% on Tuesday but has gained 3.2% over the past seven days. By comparison, bitcoin has declined nearly 1% over that period while Cardano has lost more than 10%. Ethereum is trading in positive territory over seven days as prices recovered from 16-month lows.

XLM, which is currently valued at $0.197, has declined roughly 12% over the past month. At current values, it has a market capitalization of $3.7 billion, placing it sixth among active cryptocurrencies. Bitbox is the most active market for XLM traders, accounting for more than 54% of daily transactions.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 644 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he specializes in cryptocurrency, economics and the broader financial markets. Sam has nearly eight years of progressive experience as an analyst, writer and financial market commentator where he has contributed to the world's foremost newscasts.




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